Murrah Building Bombing Shaped Muslim Organization

May 3, 2008

Author: Carla Hinton

Source: The Oklahoman

The Council on American-Islamic Relations was a fledgling organization less than a year old when its co-founder, Nihad Awad, received an urgent telephone call from Oklahoma City in April 1995.

It was just days after a truck bomb blew apart the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

The Oklahoma City bombing forever changed the organization created to foster communication between American Muslims and the communities in which they lived, Awad said at the recent Council on American-Islamic Relations Oklahoma banquet in Oklahoma City.

"That event shed light on the challenges that faced our community. It started a movement,” he said.

Before the bombing and the anti-Muslim backlash that followed, the council had been asked to review a few incidents in which Muslim-Americans' civil rights had been violated. Harassment and other harmful acts increased after the bombing, showing Awad and other organization leaders "the depth of the challenges before us.”